You know it's cold season when you begin surreptitiously lining your pockets with tissues. As a mom, it also involves toting other people's expectorate on tissues in your pocket. If you're a mom of more than one child, it also involves dedicating pockets so that you're not wiping the face of one child with the tissue smeared with the other's mucus excretions. See, this is why I'm done having kids. I have no idea what you do with the third child's tissues. Maybe like so many things that were integral when eldest child was a wee babe, they fall to the wayside and you stop caring whose snot it is.
For those of you who read me over at Worst Mama, you've already seen this picture. Here's the Christmas Picture with The Mall Santa. I have no idea why it has the wacky border. Lauren was excited about seeing Santa and apprised him of what she wants - a single item. He smiled and told her to be a good girl, and she nodded obediently.
Many of the other kids, particularly ones who don't celebrate Christmas have informed the ones that do that there's no such thing as Santa. Having been told this at 6 by a little Jewish girl in my 1st grade class, I'd decided the best policy when confronted was to tell the truth. In April, she said, "I don't understand why you pretend that it's Santa on Christmas at GG's house when it's really Grandpa Paul," to which I replied, "Sometimes it's fun to pretend." I thought this was a damn good answer. I heard Lauren ask Alec over the weekend, carefully explaining how Aleksa, a classmate, had told her that there was no such thing as Santa. I thought Alec's answer was pretty good about the spirit of the season is one of giving, and that one person couldn't be everywhere, so in this spirit she actually had lots of Santas: her parents, her grandparents, her aunts and uncles. And yet, after this conversation, it was she who suggested that we go to the mall to visit Santa and give him her list. I have to admit this was something of a disconnect for me, but maybe it just goes back to my original answer that sometimes it's fun to pretend.
We had prepared the "pumpkin" (it was actually butternut squash) pie from scratch on Wednesday along with the cornbread, and started brining the turkey. The turkey and roasted spiced sweet potato recipes were the one we'd used last year, but the sage and chestnut stuffing, brussel sprouts sauteed with pancetta, pear, walnut and bleu cheese salad were all new recipes.
We wore jeans yesterday. The television blared the Macy's parade and then football. I was relieved to be able to do laundry, including stripping the beds and washing the sheets. I know that probably sounds ridiculous, but there was always so much pressure growing up to uphold this imposed formality that was void of normalcy, that something as simple as folding sheets was grounding. It felt good to be barefoot.
Being home this weekend means we can put up our Christmas tree, which feels so much less pressured than it always did trying to squeeze into a weekend in December when we're being pulled in so many directions.
I captured this picture of you today at breakfast so that someday when you're big you can see what a serious little person you were. You're eating oatmeal with walnuts, honey, and bananas, and carefully using the spoon to retrieve the oatmeal and picking out the slices of banana with your fingers.
Lindsay, November 2007
We moved you out of your high chair and into a booster at the table last week. You seem to enjoy eating with the family, and simultaneously decided it was no longer acceptable to use plastic toddler utensils, and insist on using a regular teaspoon and salad fork like your sister does.
Tomorrow marks your half birthday, and you will be 18 months old. I forget sometimes you're not bigger than that because you're so independent. You insist on walking from the house to the car, and remind me when I put you in your car seat "Seatbelt on!" You've warmed up to the idea of playing at the gym daycare during the week and call it, "Play with the kids" as you say,"Go now. Play with the kids." I'm surprised at your affinity for new words - it's between 3-5 per day now, and for Daddy, who travels every week, it's an even bigger shock.
You're still very tough on your big sister, and often pull her hair or give her a smack upside the head when you're playing together. More often, she plays and you play along side her - taking care of a doll, or in the play kitchen.
I've been receiving a lot of text messages lately. Some of them from people I don't know. One of them claiming to be my favorite student and asking me if I was at the musical. "Sorry wrong number," I wrote back to receive a last message: "Oh my b."
Last night I received one that said: "We're at CBs and nine drag queens are here."
Not recognizing the number, and stumbling over where CBs (Manhattan, maybe?) might be, or whether it might be expected that there would be transvestites (9 of them), I wrote back, "Yay. I love a parade." because I couldn't think of what else to say. Maybe they were expecting this? Maybe they were inviting me to come see it, ala Lucky Chengs? "Where are the rest of them?" was a close second option for a response. "We just had to leave," the text-er wrote back. "Are they pretty?" I asked. "Have you seen Some Like It Hot?" was the question in response.
After a few messages, I pieced together that it was Nick messaging, whose number isn't in my cell, and that he and Jessie were at the local steakhouse - a Charlie Brown's - when the party of pretty men arrived.
The language development in the past two weeks for Lindsay has been really remarkable. The process of learning to communicate I found fascinating with both girls. Lauren was (and still is) a collector of words. She had probably a hundred or so words when she began pairing them. Lindsay's focus is phrases. Technically, her first word was three words strung together, "Here you go" she would say, handing over her blankets in the morning. If you read Worst Mama, you heard that I made her angry enough in the car that she used her first formal sentence, which was, "I want my drinky, Mama!" I noted today that when I hand her something - a drink, a banana, a cracker - she says, "Cue cue" for Thank you.
Lauren is in the phase right now where I am constantly having to spell words for her. Each week, they formally learn a word - to read, spell, and write it. She sings songs about these words. She came home with a miniature composition book and began drawing pictures of various objects outside (a tree, a bag of leaves, a scarecrow) and attempting to write the word underneath. She wrote "lef bag" and "skercro", and I wrote the words underneath them as neatly as I could manage.
My neighbor Ed the ex-Marine is out in his front yard wearing his pajamas and a bright blue bathrobe.
Perhaps came out to get his paper?
Ah yes. Bliss. He tucks it under his left arm.
But something is amiss.
He looks around the corner.
He darts into a bush.
Something is wrong. Someone is missing.
He ducks behind his shrub and returns holding a small black cat. This cat recently started appearing on the scene. She is black and looks startlingly like my cat Shannon except she wears an orange collar (Shannon's is black).
He places the cat gently next to the food bowl on his front steps, and returns into the house with his newspaper, victorious.
All and all, I am dissatisfied with my little borough over this Halloween season. As you know, my candy was swiped. I'll give you that leaving $25 worth of candy in a bowl in your yard is sort of tempting, but my neighbors do it every year. Perhaps it was the Cadillac selection - peanut butter cups, almond bars, malted milk balls, and chocolate covered toffee bars that were just too good to pass up dumping the bowl into his pillow case.
But today, discovering that all the remaining jack-o-lanterns in our neighborhood were smashed in the street put me over the top. Especially since mine, pictured above, was in the garbage the day after Halloween because it was rotten. It was such a poor harvest this year that I'd put out some of my indoor decorations to round out our display. I've labeled the fake ones.
Would you believe someone swiped 2 of my fake pumpkins? Why would someone need to do that? What could you possibly do with 2 rubber pumpkins? They don't splat satisfyingly on the pavement.
I liked those pumpkins. Lauren and I picked them out together when she was 3. We put them out around the house. Every year since, she's gotten excited to see the decorations come out. I know I can buy new rubber pumpkins. But it was my stuff and someone didn't care and just took it. I think that sucks a whole lot.
Yes, you read that right. Sitting eating lunch with Lindsay yesterday, I'll admit I was a bit preoccupied. I was probably reading and eating, or chatting and eating. Although the jingle of Lauren's wind chimes in her room struck me as strange since I knew the windows were all closed, it didn't register there might be something amiss.
After Lindsay decimated her cream cheese sandwich, I scooped her up to put her down for a nap upstairs. As I turned into her bedroom, something flew past my head, brushing my ear. I screamed, ran downstairs and out of the house. Breathing fast, I grabbed my cell phone out of my pocket. It appeared I didn't have the number for animal control programmed into my phone, but the non-emergency police number would do.
"Hi, this is Detective Scott..."
"Hi. This is Epiphany Alone and I live at this address. There's something flying around my second floor..."
"I don't know if it was a bird or a bat...I screamed and ran..."
"No, seriously. I have no idea what it was, I just got out of there with my baby."
"Ok, I will send a patrol car over..."
The 7-foot tall policeman wasn't as amused that now he had to go upstairs, open a window, and shoo the bird out of the house. He did so as politely as he could muster, though he did quietly wonder aloud why I couldn't have just opened a window myself.
"It's all set, ma'am," he said, handing me a bird poop-stained towel.
Lindsay's interpreted that we're teaching her what animals say so that she can communicate with that animal. I noticed recently that whenever one of the cats walks by she says, "Me-yow!" as though in greeting.
She's decided Seamus, our cantankerous elder cat, is snuggly. Whenever she approaches him, she tries to hug him. He is very patient, as he was when Lauren was a tot, and will allow the light slappy petting and the occasional ear pull. Lindsay's hugs are the full-body type where she falls on him, "Me-yowing" as soothingly as an almost 18 month old can manage. She gave him a hug last night while he was eating his dinner, and he just continued chewing, barely acknowledging the 20 pound monkey on his back.
Yeah, I'm probably going to overlook the next bathroom peeing incident...
Happy first day of Nablopomo, guys! Blog until the Internet explodes!
We had a very nice Halloween Chez Stoll. Lindsay and I went to the Y. Lindsay dressed up as Tinkerbell, and I went to yoga class. When I came down to get her, she was conning those Pillsbury cookies that you slice and bake from some woman who called herself Grandma. "She ate 3 already," she said. "She just kept asking for more."
Lindsay as Tinkerbell
We headed over to Lauren's class party. I read the kids a story. We had a snack of pretzels and juice. We played Ghost Bowling (Lindsay's bowling game with those plastic ghosts you hang from trees over them) and Halloween Twister (we glued ghosts, jack o' lanterns, witches, and black cat faces on top of a Twister game). We colored faces on printed jack o' lantern templates.
Kindergardeners playing Halloween Twister
After that, Lindsay and I had some humus for lunch at the picnic table we frequented last spring when Lauren was in PM Pre-K. Then we attended the Halloween sing along assembly and the annual costume parade.
My neighbor across the street's "graveyard"
We went out trick or treating around 5 PM, which was early this year because of the extra week of daylight savings. It meant that we walked a couple of blocks without finding houses with candy, which was actually OK, because it meant we had a pretty small haul this year. Because we were out, we left a bowl of candy unattended. It didn't last very long.
Before someone ignored the "Take one treat, please" and dumped the lot into their bag.
Green Puppy and Blue, anxious to go out
Trick or Treating is hard work...
When we got home around 6:30, Lauren asked that I take a picture of her face paint. The girls were tired, as was I from pulling them around in their wagon. We all went to bed pretty early last night.